1999 – “When the Frost Is On The Punkin” was the theme for this year’s Festival. This year was also the 150th Birthday Celebration for Mr. Riley. Jordan Ray was the 1999 Riley Festival Queen.
Board members were: Nancy Alldredge, General Chairman; Steve Kirkpatrick, President; Greg Carwein, Myra Maxwell, Betty Wright, Bonnie Andrew, Fred Applegate, David Berard, Dane Erlewein, Faith Hawk, Don Jenkins, Sarah Kesterson, Kay Meeker, Myron Snelson, Leroy Summers, Harry Tracy and Sarah Wolf.
Birthday cake was served as part of the Opening Ceremonies. Gov. Frank O’Bannon proclaimed it as the Year of Riley. Jaycie Phelps was the Grand Marshal of the Parade. Jaycie was a member of 1996 Gold Medal Gymnastics team at the Olympics.
Mike Edwards, a Greenfield boy, who was 1969 Indiana Basketball All-Star player and author of “The Last Tiger” was the keynote speaker for the Mayor’s Breakfast. Colin Smith was awarded the 1999 James Whitcomb Riley Festival Award.
At the Indiana State Festival Association’s annual meeting in November, Nancy Alldredge received the Josephine Hauck Award. This is a very prestigious award that was established in 1994 in honor of Josephine Hauck who was a founder of the ISFA.
2000 – Christa Scott Pike was crowned Queen of the 2000 Riley Festival. Two poems were chosen to be the Theme Poems – “We Must Get Home” and “Up and Down Old Brandywine”
Mayor Seikichi Sato of Kakuda City, Japan helped Greenfield Mayor Rodney Fleming welcome everyone to the 2000 Riley Festival. Mayor Sato sang “My Town” in Japanese. We had a delegation from our Sister City in Japan as our guests at the Festival. Also at the Festival was rain.
In June of this year the Riley Festival moved their offices from the Chamber of Commerce Building to the old Pasco Funeral Home. The building is now owned by the Hancock Community Foundation and they are renting the Festival office and storage space. This year the Festival offered shuttle buses to take visitors who park at the 4-H Fairgrounds to the Festival downtown and then back again to the Fairgrounds.
The Mayor’s Breakfast had entertainment provided by the Riley Children’s Theater. The speaker was Mike O’Conner, Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis. Greg Carwein was the President of the Board of Directors and Sarah Kesterson was the General Chairman.
The Riley Festival was given a grant from the Indiana Tourism Division for half the cost of an economic and demographic study. Purdue University will conduct the study. The goal is to determine the Festival’s impact on Greenfield and Hancock County.
2001 – Ashley Willoughby reigned over the 2001 Riley Festival as Queen. The theme was “The Pixy People.
Because of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, a special ceremony was held to honor the Greenfield police officers and firefighters. The ceremony was at 4 p.m. on Friday in the Entertainment Tent.
New this year was the addition of a Quilt Show to the Home Arts Show. It will now be called the Home Arts and Quilt Show. Also new the Riley Festival Board of Directors hosted a chili lunch for the Downtown Appreciation Day on Wednesday after the Festival. at the Victorian Rose. This was a Thank You to the Downtown Merchants for their co-operation and patience during the Festival.
Jaycie Phelps, a member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Gold Medal Gymnastics Team, was the keynote speaker for the Mayor’s breakfast.